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Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content. Share this item with your network: By Sharon Shea, Senior Site Editor From hardware to cryptography to forensics, Computer Security Fundamentals provides exactly what the title implies: a general knowledge of cybersecurity. Its most recent edition, released in October , offers updates and expanded insight into a field that author Chuck Easttom admits changes rapidly.

Each chapter also offers test questions and case studies to help readers retain what they have read. Here, Easttom discusses some of the newer trends in cybersecurity today, additions to the book and trouble areas he sees people encounter in cybersecurity, including some in the most common, well-known places. What changed most from the third to the fourth edition? Chuck Easttom: The biggest one is we added a new chapter on cybersecurity engineering.

We added an entire chapter to bring in actual engineering as it applies to penetration testing and other aspects of cybersecurity. Some topics, like the forensics chapter, expanded significantly. And the cryptography chapter now includes a brief section on quantum computing and its impact on cryptography. Speaking of quantum computing, what kind of effects can we expect on cybersecurity?

Easttom: The issue is pretty simple: Current public key cryptography -- algorithms like Diffie-Hellman, elliptic curve cryptography and RSA [Rivest-Shamir-Adleman] -- are based on mathematical problems that are very hard for classical computers to solve. The problem is it was already proven by a man named Peter Shor at MIT that a quantum computer can solve these mathematical problems in a reasonable amount of time.

This means, if we had a fully functioning practical quantum computer today, it would be able to break RSA, elliptic curve and Diffie-Hellman in a reasonable amount of time -- not instantly, but in a reasonable amount of time. Then, all the VPNs, e-commerce and more would be insecure. NIST has been working for a couple of years on a project to evaluate algorithms resistant to quantum computers.

NIST expects to complete this by Will the quantum computing security fix be ready in time? Easttom: Most people estimate we are five years out from serious implementation of quantum computing. Where do you see cryptography tripping people up? For about two years. To prove my point, in the first two minutes, I was easily able to identify important cryptographic topics that almost no one knew about.

That gap in knowledge of cryptography has led to many, many breaches. For example, the original Wi-Fi security protocol, WEP [Wired Equivalent Privacy], was created insecure because the engineers who put it together did not understand cryptography and misimplemented the cryptographic algorithms they were using.

This led to literally thousands of breaches over many years. Easttom: A big trouble area -- and this will sound counterintuitive at first -- is cybersecurity has become too popular. Anytime something becomes too popular, lots of people rush to it that may not be qualified. Certifications, if viewed properly, are a fantastic tool because any certification is evidence a person has met the minimum standards for a particular set of objectives.

Throughout the book, I mention several certifications people should consider. Also, certification vendors have evolved in the past couple of years. Yes, there are still multiple-choice questions, but many certifications now include practical, do-it questions.

You either knew how to do it, or you failed that question. About the author Chuck Easttom Dr. Chuck Easttom is the author of 26 books, including several on computer security, forensics and cryptography. He has also authored scientific papers on digital forensics, cyberwarfare, cryptography and applied mathematics.

He is an inventor with 16 computer science patents. He is a frequent speaker at cybersecurity, computer science and engineering conferences. He is a distinguished speaker and senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

You can find out more about Dr. Easttom and his research at his website. This was last published in January Related Resources.


Computer Security Fundamentals, 2nd Edition



'Computer Security Fundamentals:' Quantum security to certifications



'Computer Security Fundamentals:' Quantum security to certifications



Computer Security Fundamentals, 4th Edition


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